Christmas music comes in many forms. It could be a group of carollers going door to door spreading holiday cheer, or a band set up outside downtown, playing for anyone passing. Or there’s the schlock you hear on Top-40 radio.
Or you can take in Canadian tenor trio Romanza when they perform their Christmas show O Night Divine at the Revelstoke Performing Arts Centre on Sunday, Nov. 25.
Romanza is Philip Grant, Ken Lavigne and Paul Ouellette, three classically trained vocalists who have been singing together for close to a decade. The three friends started performing together as part of the Canadian Tenors in 2004 but after two years in that group, they decided to branch out on their own.
“In total we’ve done 37 states, all 10 provinces and 300-plus shows since then,” Grant told me in a phone interview last week.
When Romanza first started together, they toured constantly, playing 80 shows a year and spending months on the road. Recently, they’ve slowed down, heading out on the road for a few shows here and there while they pursue other passions: Grant is doing a PhD in marketing, Lavigne performs as a solo artist and Ouellette runs a vocal school.
While Grant said life on the road could be tough, he still gets a joy out of performing.
“We get to do what we love, which is hang out with each other and perform for an audience that has really been welcoming for us over the years,” he said. “And we get to perform and sing.”
This will be Romanza’s second trip to Revelstoke in the last two years; they were here in February 2011 for a sold out show where they performed many tenor classics.
This Sunday’s show will be a mix of tenor classics and Christmas hits. Joining the tenors on stage will be a trio consisting of a pianist, violin and double-bass.
“The first half will be those big tenor hits, people crave them. The Nessun Dorma, O Sole Mio, Danny Boy, that kind of stuff,” Grant said. “The second half will be all the Christmas music, the holiday music. We’re sticking with stuff that tenors are famous for singing.”
He mentioned songs like O Holy Night – “That’s a Christmas Eve special for tenors all over the world” – and Jesus Bambino, a Pavarotti staple.
He said to expect Christmas classics and one surprise song that will seem out of place, but will get people talking.
“We have a great one we’re working on and excited to perform but I can’t tell you what it is,” Grant said. “We don’t just do old music but we breathe new life into the show by adding a couple of new pieces.”
Romanza plays at the Revelstoke Performing Arts Centre on Sunday, Nov. 25, at 2 p.m. Tickets are $25 in advance (available at Talisman) or $30 at the door.